They say video killed the radio star, I beg to differ.
Twerk by City Girls featuring Cardi B is where this started. As music videos go Twerk is just weird, its not the worst that we’ve seen over the last 30 years but it is bad. It is wildly explicit and not suitable for this blog, quite frankly. It’s also highly unlikely that it will ever make it onto TV. Its made for sharing and thats it.
It’s a lot of money for a Facebook post and a bit of virality. It’s here if you want to look, I wouldn’t advise it but it started a conversation about how bad music videos can be. This one though, this is weird. It is a strange concept, a Twerking competition of sorts. And not the kind of Twerk they new in Newcastle. People may or may not have invited to take part in this competition, they may or may not have been paid to attend, they may or may not be ‘influencers’ but really, the result is disturbing. The body paint, the yacht, the beach, the pole apparatus, the twerking in the dirt, the crotch shots, well, just all of it?
What were they thinking?
It made me think about how bad music videos have been over the last 30 years since MTV started in 1981. Girls on Film by Duran Duran was the very first video to be banned by MTV, and to be fair, it really isn’t that bad when you consider some of the stuff that has made the list below. That’s before we even get to the unmentionables.
Video cannot have killed the radio star when filmmakers, high schoolers and record labels have managed to put out so much rubbish over the last three decades. Some of these people should have left the camera in the cupboard. Or hired a Bob.
Grab a cushion to cover your face, bring vodka to drink yourself into oblivion, have a set of earplugs handy to just blot it out and make sure there is some hand sanitiser nearby, enough to fill a bath for a post article cleansing. Join me on a journey through hell, this is going to get ugly.
1 – Thinking of You (I Drive Myself Crazy) by NSYNC
1999. This is what it was like in 1999. There is no justice. Post-Madchester, post-grunge, post-Britpop and we got this. This travesty involved Justin Timberlake and is so cheaply put together its amazing that it ever saw the light of day. Everything about it is horrific, the suit pyjama things, the hair, the colours, the song. This was one of our early warnings about Timberlake and we didn’t pay any attention. Shame on all of us.
2 – Hanson – MMMBop
1997 brought us this, thing. All of it is terrible, they had an editing suite that impressed them and decided to use every effect they could. They had access to a green screen and shouldn’t have. This thing was nominated for Grammys. It won plaudits everywhere. I’m assuming that at some point in the future there will be a scientific paper that will explore widespread hearing issues at the end of the ’90s that are as yet unexplained. As if we needed any more, they did a version of this for NME in 2017 that says more about the place of NME than in 2018 it does about Hanson. It’s here.
3 – Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
This is a quizzical one this. On the one hand, its kind of Sinead O’Connor Nothing Compares 2U in sections where her face is in the shot, then it quickly becomes sheer pornography, objectification, and absolute lunacy. The video more or less represents the lyric but it all just seems so unnecessary, needless, pointless. It’s trying hard to be something serious yet is just shy of comedic. Failing to reach either peak. It’s neither erotic nor funny, it’s just awkward, you feel uncomfortable for everyone involved. And seriously Miley, put that sledgehammer down, you don’t know where its been.
4 – Elton John – I’m Still Standing
It’s the 80s. Its loadsamoney and madness, all-night parties and Tory money, Rubiks Cubes, Royal weddings, Smash Hits, Pac Man, and Walkmans. We’re reaching for space, and reaching across walls. Its the 80’s and its Elton fucking John.
Imagine the conversation in a production suite in the East End of London if you will. “We’ve got a single, we need a video for this MTV fucker, let’s spend a shit load of money, fuck it, I know, lets to Cannes, let’s do this fucking properly. Let’s get planes, helicopters, girls, tons of coke, gallons of champagne, the fastest cars, pianos, piers, loads of booze, all the body paint, leather, dancers, all the dancers, crowns, crotches, hotels, all of it, let’s go utterly insane. Let’s make a fucking film!
What’s that? Call sheets? A director with vision? A filming schedule? A plan? Baby, where we’re going we don’t need no plan. This slice of utterly ill-considered lunacy was directed by Russell Mulcahy so blame him.
5 – Cher – If I Could Turn Back Time
Cher. Dear, dear Cher. Whoever decided that this video needed you near naked on a navy ship filled with sailors, wearing little more than a ribbon and a smile was on drugs. They had to be. There is so much wrong with this, that its almost impossible to know where to start. The Americaness off it? The 80’sness of it? The sheer madness of it? The flaunting yourself on a big Gunness of it? What could possibly be weird about that, eh, Cher, sitting on a massive gun surrounded by chanting, excitable, barely contained sailors. Perfectly alright that, nothing weird at all, and certainly nothing that would suggest a director with a coke habit and a budget big enough to send you to Mars. For those of you who are interested, this was the last music video filmed on USS Missouri.
6 – Whatzupwitu – Eddie Murphy ft. Michael Jackson
There was a time when Eddie Murphy fancied himself as a pop star. God knows why, really, he shouldn’t have bothered, if this green screen fiasco with Michael Jackson is anything to go by. The only thing this video tells us is that there were tons of Bolivian marching powder around Holywood and that the entertainment industry would literally have thrown money and a putrid steaming pile of shit if they thought they could get a half decent return on investment off it. Where to start? The graphics? The camera angles? The nauseating movement? The dancers? The point? Send nurofen.
7 – Kiss – Tears Are Falling
I think by this point there is a theme emerging. Much of this droll was created around the time people started to take the idea of MTV seriously. It’s like everyone is trying to outdo everyone else, like how the loons in Times Square have spent the last 20 years trying to out New York each other and we’ve ended up with a bloke in a thong playing country songs for a song. This particular piece of madness from Kiss is the art of playing outside in the pouring rain and not getting your big 80’s har wet. A unique skill. It’s like the storyboard was dropped face down on a child still wet painting of a Volcano and it was too late to do anything about it, thought, fuck it, its Kiss, lets do it.
8 – Marilyn Manson – Heart-Shaped Glasses
This 2007 production by Manson is just weird, let’s start there. Manson is weird in general, this though, this is a different level of weird. It starts life as a dark 80’s teen movie and descends really quickly into burning cars, death, and a blood-soaked lesbian encounter where Manson hovers in the background that is just bizarre. Is this a teenage boy fantasy soaked in blood? That can’t possibly be a thing, can it? Can it?
9 – David Hasselhoff – Hooked on a Feeling
Another greenscreen disaster that is so badly executed it has to be seen to be believed. Stop here, have a look and come back to me. Hooga Ooga Chakka chakka? Yeah. This is like a three-minute opening sequence to a children’s programme that got out of control. Appearing in front of yourself in a green screen, the weird green screen boxes, the motorbikes? The flying? It literally makes no sense to me on any level. A true WTF.
10 – Kanye West – Bound 2
Kanye, or Ye as he may or may not be currently called, has form. He criticised Bush over Hurricane Katrina yet dawns the new white hood of red Maga hat and call Drumph the new messiah. He called himself “The voice of a generation” and was lambasted across the world, though most notably on South Park. From the stage invasions, through to the huffs and walk-offs, Kanye is a full on can of weird worms. Open under adult supervision.
This though, this is what happens when you buy stock footage from Old Spice, Budweiser, the NRA and splice it all with a green screen thing involving a motorbike, and a half-naked women in an all-out LSD fueled dream. They had HD cameras, filters and a platform that helped bounce breasts around and by God they were gonna use it. All of it. Seriously, riding around on a motorbike like that, he’ll get himself killed.
11. Blac Youngsta – Booty
I’ve saved the best for last. Excuse the acres of flesh on this, but this one has to be seen to be believed. This is a tale of a situation where the singer wants to be ‘gangsta’ and surround himself with half-naked dancers, guns, drugs, and money.
Clearly, for a laugh, the director has convinced him that if he wants ‘big booty ‘ then the most artistic way to approach that is for him to be reduced to around three inches tall throughout. Big butts. Big guns. Big money. Big question marks.
This defies explanation. I’ll not embed it, it’s here. Be warned.
Some of these are so bad I would never embex them on this page as there is a chance that small, curious people might get clicking. And we cannot have that.
This is the XXX portion of the list, this is the weird, NSFW, unsuitable for minors and possibly unsuitable for you section. This is your final warning.
Turn back now, there be demons.
Big Bad Wolf by Duck Sauce makes this list for sheer top shelf absurdity that is likely to make you feel ill, seriously spend about four seconds on this. Heads in the place of genitals? It is a new level of all-out weirdness. If you can explain this I am all ears.
Handshake by Two Door Cinema Club is a spectacularly strange thing. Directed by Sam Pilling, known for making short films and little else, it is certified to have you scratching your hipster beard late into the night while sipping on your IPA. Just ensure that your head is still attached to the rest of your body and in the right place. This is bizarro.
It’s quite possible that you’ve never seen the video for Men’s Needs by The Cribs on TOTP. It is filmed in a yellow studio and involves a naked woman doing household chores, decapitation and severed limbs… Very odd.
If you’re looking for crucified monkeys, nudity and cockroaches then Closer by Nine Inch Nails is the video for you. Banned by everyone on release there is still no need. It’s the kind of video that makes you feel like you need 6 hours in a bath.
Madonna is no stranger to controversy, but Justify My Love from 1990 was probably a bit much for most media outlets. So much so that the video didn’t make it onto Youtube until 2006. It was called seedy and given an 18 certificate. You decide.
Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines ft. T.I., Pharrell just defies logic. It has three near-naked women, and, well, that’s it. No colour, no vision, no creative value, just lots of misogyny.
Oh, and the entire song was pretty much stolen from Marvin Gaye. The Gaye estate took Thicke to court, he tried to countersue and then was ordered to pay $5 million dollars to the Gaye estate for copyright infringement. Perfect. Thicke by name, Thicke by nature.
The Honey G Show by Honey G is only useful for inducing seizures. Be warned, the sheer speed at which this hideous thing comes at you is remarkable. It’s bad. Wear shades.
Born Free by M.I.A is the weirdest nine minutes of ginger genocide that you’re likely to see. Seriously. People sat in a room and decided this was okay? Ginger genocide?
Baby’s on Fire by Die Antwoord is here but is probably best avoided. It gets worse on every watch, it is mystifying, confusing, and unfathomable. You’ve been warned.
Finally, the Eric Prydz video for Call On Me is a cross between Playboy and The Hitman & Her, it’s not only a terrible song but it’s a terrible video too.
How was this ever aired?
How was any of this aired?
Send the eye bleach!!